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Archive for the ‘Trump’ Category

In eight years under Obama, I never went to bed worrying about some unexpected military escalation. Now I worry every day. Why is that?

It isn’t because Kim Jong Un is all of a sudden crazier than he always was. Trump has just given him more fodder to look more important in the world than he is.

It isn’t because Iran has just gone off the rails. Iran went off the rails in 1979, and many previous presidents, since Reagan, have contained Iran. I believe the “Iran deal” was one of the more stabilizing events in the world and one of the more valuable contributions of Obama. But that’s my subjective opinion. Yet, Tillerson talks about Iran being a new danger.

North Korea is what it’s been since the 1950s. Iran is what it’s been since the 1970s. What changed? The U.S. changed in 2017.

Now Trump is telling us that the world is so dangerous, and we need to spend another $50 billion on weapons, while we cut everything else, including diplomacy. A society’s values are defined by what it spends its money on. Trump has hijacked our country, is telling us that suddenly the world is dangerous, and we need more guns.

I say that the biggest threat to the planet, our way of life, our society, and humanity in general, is the petulant, ignorant, self-absorbed dilettante we have elected into the White House.

We are the problem, not Korea or Iran or ISIS for that matter.

 

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Are You an Enabler?

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I just came home from a neighborhood walk and noticed a Trump bumper sticker on the back of an SUV. I would think that just about now Trump voters might be taking down their stickers. Well, I was a Clinton voter, not because I thought she was a great candidate, but rather because I simple could not vote for Trump. For reasons, simply search “Why I Can’t Vote for Trump” on this blog and you’ll get 25 examples.

About two and a half months into his presidency, I believe things are in shambles.

He said he’d work this ass off (his words) and never have time to leave the Oval Office, because there was so much work he’d do for the American people. Instead, he’s been on vacation in Florida, he’s spent more money on travel in a couple of months than Obama did all year, he’s essentially been a part-time president.

He said he’d repeal and replace Obamacare on day one. On day 64 he threw in the towel. He kept telling his voters that they’d have a “terrific health care plan” which would be much better, at a fraction of the cost, if they elected him. He said he had this plan he could not tell us about. In reality, he had no plan, he didn’t even know “how complicated health care was.” And neither did the GOP in Congress. The repeal part would have been easy. The replace part simply could not get done in 64 days of a part-time presidency.

He said he’d drain the swamp in Washington. Instead he seems to be institutionalizing corruption in the White House. People did vote for Donald Trump, that is correct. But people did not vote for Ivanka and Jared, they did not vote for Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. They did not vote for Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. He practices nepotism on a grand scale. And everyone in his cabinet seems to be mostly engaged in tearing down barriers to getting personally rich or richer.

He said he’d make America great again, whatever that means, but he is degrading the country in front of the world. Leaders the world around roll their eyes when they have to deal with Trump. He acts like a petulant child around them. He cannot communicate with them, and the does not appear to listen to them. On the world stage, he looks like a fool.

He says he is a great leader, but he divides the people. In his rallies, he incites hatred and division between people. In Congress, where he should be building alliances, he insults people personally and tries to bully them. The United States is not a company, and he is not a CEO. Bullying will not work. He is not a leader. He is a bully.

And most importantly of all, with every day that goes by he looks more illegitimate. The noose of the Russian scandal is tightening around his neck. Everyone around him appears to have had discussions and interactions with Russia, a bully nation with a leader running it like an organized crime institution. If any of the activities that appear to have gone on turn out to be true, people will go to prison for treason for those activities. And that would bring Trump down as a traitor. Certainly, if I were caught in such activities, they’d throw me in prison. Now the first person on the team, Flynn, is already asking for immunity. To quote Flynn during the campaign when he talked about Clinton: “If you’re asking for immunity, you probably committed a crime!”

I don’t think Trump will last four years in office. I think it’s time to scratch off those bumper stickers.

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If you have never watched The Young Turks, start here, and subscribe to his channel. Excellent analysis.

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Donald Trump ran a garden-variety fraud called Trump University. He got caught, and the got sued, and to avoid publicity he paid a settlement of $25 million, just before he took office. How can we believe anything he says? He committed fraud to enrich himself and got convicted, and now he’s in the most audacious fraud of all time.

I actually feel sorry for Sean Spicer. He knows what’s going on. He’s a smart guy. He’s just holding out, waiting for Trump to crash and burn. Then he’ll get a $50 million advance on his book: Behind Closed Doors in the Trump White House. At this rate, we won’t have to wait long.

I’ll buy the book.

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…you should expect a circus.

 

Why do I know Sean Spicer?

And why do I not even know who Obama’s press secretary was? He certainly wasn’t in my Facebook newsfeed everywhere, all the time, every day.

I know Sean Spicer because it’s his job to tell us every day what Trump said, or didn’t say, or meant, or didn’t mean, or didn’t know, or didn’t care about.

Sad.

 

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Here is Trump rolling back progress in keeping our federal lands protected, our air clean, and our heritage intact. And he is proud of it, telling the coal workers behind him that they’re getting their jobs back. This makes no sense to me whatsoever.

First, as the Washington Post article suggests, the action will not make any difference in the number of coal jobs. Coal production and consumption in the United States has gone from about 820 million tons in 2000 through about 2007, and have steadily declined to below 600 million tons long before Obama’s freeze on federal coal leasing in 2015. Demand has been well below supply for the last 15 years. Trump’s ceremonial undoing of Obama’s regulation will not make any difference in this trend. We’ll burn less coal, and that’s a good thing.

Trump and his cronies paid by the coal industry are reveling in the admiration of the coal workers.

COAL WORKERS, for heaven’s sake! Coal is one of the dirtiest industries. There is no such thing as clean coal. Not only does it pollute the environment, our water, our forests, coal mines are ugly and leave scars upon the land that will be there for millions of years. Coal workers get sick and die years, sometimes decades earlier than their contemporaries. Read Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence and then tell me you want to work in a coal mine! But Trump and his billionaire cronies think they are doing these coal workers a favor by sending them back into mines. And the coal workers seem to be lapping it up. This is so wrong.

The coal workers should be going to school and learn about solar power. That’s where the money is. That’s where the jobs are.

source: Forbes

This chart shows there are more than four times as many jobs in the solar industry as there are in the coal industry. Even wind energy jobs are more plentiful than coal.

When coal demand goes down to 400 million tons in the next ten years, those are the skills they will need.

Trump will ride into the sunset of his life then, much richer, living in his golden tower, and the miners will still be unemployed, dreaming about working in coal mines, and admiring their billionaire benefactor.

This makes no sense to me at all.

 

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Before the automobile came around early in the 20th century, all urban traffic was horse-drawn.

We all know what the New York City street picture looks like with the automobile.

But most of us have not thought about what the city streets were like with all those horses.

In the 1880, estimates are that there were 170,000 horses in the city at any time. Horses left 2.5 million pounds of manure on the streets of New York every single day. This is a typical street picture:

The horses were worked in 12-hour shifts. Horses defecate every 2 hours and urinate every 3-4 hours. All this went onto the city streets. There were workers called “dirt carters” that picked up the manure from the streets and hauled it to specially designated “manure blocks.”

In the winter, the frozen waste was covered by layers of ice and snow, and the streets sometimes rose up by several feet, as this built up.

Horses at work in New York only had a life-expectancy of two and a half years. When horses died, they were often left on the streets until they were rotted sufficiently so they could be carved up and taken away in pieces or rolled into the river.

While they were there, children played with the carcasses.

I say we should ask Mr. Trump to ban automobiles in the big cities and bring back horses. Think of all the jobs that would create and economic activity it would stimulate!

We would have to build stables again. Horses would have to be checked into stables while the people were at work, creating new construction, and jobs taking care of horses. Veterinarians could once again open up shops in the cities. Blacksmiths could have shops making horseshoes. All the dirt-carters would be back in business.

We would have whole new industries bringing horse fodder into the city, and transporting manure out of the city. Drivers would have to be employed around the clock. The drivers would need room and board, causing more economic activity for B&Bs. There would be new jobs for stable boys.

Cities would thrive again, millions of new jobs would be created in New York City alone. And then there are all the other big cities around the country.

Let’s bring horses back to our cities, Mr. Trump!

It would help make America great again!

 

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I’m President and You’re Not

I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president and you’re not.

— Donald Trump

When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

— Richard Nixon

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For those of us who thought that Trump might “clean up his act” once he was president now know: What we saw is what we got. Trump is a boor. Always been one, always will be one.

When he was a businessman in New York, he could trample on others, throw tantrums, sue people, stiff contractors and insult employees.

Now, the whole world is listening to every word that comes out of his mouth. And it’s not pretty. Trump speaks like a fourth grader, and he rambles. Listen carefully and you will notice that he says everything two or three times to fill dead air. A point that could be made with five well-chosen words expands into ten paragraphs of drivel. Only when he reads off paper or a teleprompter does he utter sentences, but they are stiff and wooden. He is not even a good reader, or his speech writers are bad writers so his words don’t ring real.

Here is the problem, though. As a CEO, if you can’t speak, or can’t control what you say, you’re being punished by your business and your customers. When you’re the president of a nation, you have the smartest people in the country paying attention to what you do and say, and the very sharpest foreign leaders and diplomats are at your table or next to you at the lectern.

These people can tell immediately when you don’t know what you’re talking about. Trump’s statements about NATO funding today were utterly ridiculous and simply exposed him as a fool. Every world leader knows that now. And worse, everyone who works for Trump, either his direct reports in the White House or Cabinet, or the people in the EPA, in NASA, in the CIA, FBI and the NSA – all highly intelligent, expertly educated, highly credentialed professionals – all cringe every time our Embarrassment-in-Chief opens his mouth or posts on Twitter.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

— attributed to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and many others.

I know what Angela Merkel is thinking now, and it’s not just because I speak German.

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Cady McCall is an iOS game programmer who just struck it rich by publishing a hit game which she sold to Apple. As she walks home alone from a meeting at night in Seattle, she is followed and then mugged. A rescuer comes along just as she passes out.

When she wakes up, she is in a moldy and dirty room in London in the 1880s, with a man named Titanic Smith, a U.S. Marshal from the Wild West.

As the two try to figure out what happened to them, they have a number of adventures in time, with one trip even to ancient Rome.

A Girl in Time is a time travel adventure story, and that’s how I came across it. The first third of the book was hard to read for me. The author, an experienced writer of many other books, mostly in the genre of alternative history, uses too many trite clichés that I found distracting. I have this pet peeve about meals always being “washed down” with a couple of beers. Here is another example:

They did not return to her apartment. Not this time. Instead they caught a cab to the Alexis Hotel after she’d grabbed a couple of adjoining rooms on Expedia.

Who “grabs” a room?

Also, the author applies a strange point of view switch, that, if it were executed correctly, could work quite well.

For instance, Cady is a 2016 American hip girl in her early twenties. And she speaks and thinks like one. Smith is a 19th century U.S Marshal from the West. He has a folksy way of talking and thinking. The author switches between the two points of view and gets into the heads of the protagonists, so we hear them thinking, but the switch occurs randomly inside paragraphs or chapters, which results in occasional confusion. Who is telling the story?

Generally, when an author does this, he works using alternate chapters with different view points, and it’s pronounced and clear. Now we’re seeing the story from Cady’s point of view, now from Smith’s.

A little editing of the books structure could have fixed this.

Now here is the cool part, if you’re still reading: About 40% into the book, Smith and Cady land by accident in Seattle in 2019, and a different 2019 it is.

Donald Trump is now president for life. The United States has become a dystopian fascist country. Homeland Security agents are executing brutal raids on citizens, reminiscent of the Gestapo in East Germany. People get arrested for criticizing the government. They get sent to “the Wall” to perform forced labor. Here is Cady talking:

“Oh, you mean when I rescued you from the fucking Fourth Reich run by an angry Cheetos demon and its talking peehole?”

I got a kick out of the Fourth Reich episode, since I found it so timely. I cannot tell when Birmingham released A Girl in Time; the book oddly lacks a copyright page. He must have written it before Trump was elected, and he simply played on the theme. We’re obviously not a dystopian fascist country yet, but some of the things being done now are very scary and Birmingham predicted them in this novel.

Some Amazon reviewers blasted the writer for letting his political views come through and using the book to lecture. For me, it was the opposite.

As far as time travel adventures go, this is a so-so book and I am not sure I’ll be interested in reading the sequel when it comes out – but I might.

As far as the sequence on Trump, it made this book, and therefore, even though I would have only given it a two-star rating, I bumped it up by half a star. It will probably boost Trump’s ego when he finds out he is a character in a novel, even though not a flattering one.

Trump, the angry Cheetos demon!

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Trump’s Management and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, said that reducing government spending on ineffective programs is “probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

Now how is that for a batshit crazy statement from an apparently deranged administration? I would definitely not call it “compassionate.” Maybe frugal, fiscally responsible, socially responsible, responsible — those would all be words that I could marginally accept, since valid arguments can be made. Taking something of significance away from people is not compassionate under any circumstances.

One of my readers (MB) has suggested that it’s not just the meal, but the fact that volunteers deliver the meals, and that this visit by a volunteer is often the only human contact the elderly recipient gets all day, is a huge contributing argument.

Finally, I challenge Mulvaney’s term “ineffective programs” in this context. Who decides whether it’s ineffective? Ask one of the recipients that’s eating. Not a single one of them will call it ineffective.

It has been estimated that an entire year of meals on wheels for a senior costs as much as ONE DAY in the hospital for that senior. The whole idea of the program is to provide nutritious meals for low-income seniors in their homes, so they don’t have to go out in the cold to shop and eat out, and risk hurting themselves by falling.

Supposedly 500,000 veterans are on meals on wheels. In 2016, 219 million meals were delivered to 2.4 million seniors.

The cost of the program is about $1.4 billion, $523 million come from the Federal Government. So we’re saving $523 million dollars.

Every single F-35 fighter plane costs over $100 million. We’re buying 2,443 of them, this was under Obama. Trump is increasing the military budget by $50 billion.

Are we really saying that we can’t live with five F-35 planes less to pay for meals on wheels in 2017?

Hell, in the Yemen raid they abandoned a single Osprey helicopter valued at $75 million due to a poorly planned and executed raid. That’s 15% of the entire annual meals on wheels budget for the Federal Government.

And more hell, Trump has already spent more than $10 million on vacations for himself since he’s been in office. That would have paid for the program for one week. But Trump getting to spend time in Florida is obviously more important.

A society shows where its values are by where it spends its money. Trump obviously has no values other than his own aggrandizement. But I am ashamed for everyone else in the government and Congress who go along with these despicable and senseless changes to a well-working system.

But then, lies are truth, war is peace, and taking meals away from 2.4 million seniors is compassionate.

Crooks, they are.

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These men have held political rallies after they were democratically elected:

  • Mussolini
  • Hitler
  • Stalin
  • Castro
  • Berdimukhamedov (Turkmenistan 2007)
  • Kim Jong-in
  • Trump

I will leave it to you to draw your conclusions.

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Free Melania

Saw this on a parking lot in Hawaii.

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